Smart cities for a smart future

Dubai Smart Cities Forum focuses on using big data to better develop urban infrastructure
The Community By The Community report
Published on November 22, 2014
smart future

DUBAI Decision makers from the public and private sectors gathered together recently at the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) for the second session of Dubai Smart Cities Forum.

The forum focused on using big data to better develop urban infrastructure. The session also provided a platform for the Dubai Smart City Initiative launched in October 2013 by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

According to Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, Assistant Director-General of the Executive Office of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Member of the Executive Committee for Dubai Smart City Initiatives, it’s crucial to emphasise the importance of spreading knowledge and awareness on smart cities.

Olga Parra, Smarter Analytics Leader for IBM Middle East and Africa Region, said, “Big data is a reality. Governments around the world looking to shape smart cities need to collect, process, share, store and analyse a vast amount of data from multiple sources in order to turn big data into information, and information into powerful insights. These insights, in turn, will play an important part in improving the decisions made by leaders.”

Parra explained how ‘smarter analytics’, an approach to decision-making that allows organisations to extract insights from continuously flowing data, plays a role in several aspects of government. These include, improving health and social programmes, building intelligent transport systems, managing resources effectively, improving public safety and security and strengthening national defence.

Big data is currently being implemented into everyday operations in agencies such as the European Customs and Border Control Agency, the US Department of State, and UK Youth Services. “Big data applies to everything…it is transforming governments in many ways,” said Parra, adding, “As far as quality of data is concerned, in the new data world, 100 per cent accuracy may be impossible. But 80 or 90 per cent accuracy is very likely.”


According to Dr Ali Sebaa Al Marri, Executive President of MBRSG, “At MBRSG, we aim to join hands with leaders from both the public and private sectors toward articulating our leadership’s vision to shape Dubai into a smart city. Big data today plays a crucial role in the transformation of cities into smart cities and is an invaluable tool in urban planning and conceptualising the future. Once we begin mining data from all over the city in day-to-day operations, we will also change the way we deal with such data.”

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